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Breaking Down the Walls: Getting the Reader (Completely) Involved (a guest post by author Kimberly Pauley)


I have decided to do something crazy and it’s all because of the dedicated fans who have emailed and facebooked and twittered at me for the last two years asking when the next Sucks to Be Me book will be available (some on a weekly basis!).  I’m finally continuing the award-winning series with the direct help of my readers. You could call it “crowd sourced Choose Your Own Adventure.”
Mini Paris inspired TPiB: So I am currently raising a Paris obsessed Tween and here are 10 fun Paris inspired craft ideas.  You can also download the FilterMania 2 app onto your iPhone and create a beautiful Eiffel Tower framed picture.

Titled (also with the help of fan comments solicited on my website) Still Sucks to Be Me…Even in Paris, the book is being released every two weeks (on a Friday) one or two chapters at a time via my newsletter. At the end of every “edition” I include three or four possible different directions the story could go in. Readers then have until the next Tuesday to respond with their vote. After all the votes are in, I spend the next week and a half writing up the chapter(s).

 I’m also sharing little extras from the writing process that people would normally never get to see like photos I’ve taken of locations or people. There’s even a pretty good chance that frequent voters will have their names featured in the book. I’ve already had people email with specific ideas beyond the standard questions that I ask them too so who knows what ideas might wind up in the book!

People who join up late (and I do hope people will continue to jump on the bandwagon) can simply ask to receive all the chapters available to date by emailing me. I’d really love to see 1,000 readers signed up in the next few months. You could be one of them! Just sign up at http://www.kimberlypauley.com/newsletter

It’s a crazy way to write a book but so far it’s been lots of fun. It’s actually rather freeing (though also terrifying) to not have an editor or a copy editor looking over my shoulder. It’s especially frightening (for me) to know that I can’t go through a normal revision process and make any major changes to scenes or reshuffle the order of things. I usually write a first draft and then go through numerous iterations before anyone else ever sees the book. I’m sure that I’ll be pulling my hair out later on as more twists and turns are built into the story but I’ve given myself permission to just let go and have fun with this. After all, it’s for the readers.

Some people have asked me “Why now?” and there are a few reasons. I finished writing the book I was working on last year and am about to go into editorial revisions on it. You’re actually the first to officially hear this as it hasn’t even been announced in Publisher’s Weekly yet, but my next book, (tentatively titled) Ask Me, is being published by the lovely folks at Soho Teen. But, it won’t be out until Spring 2014. I do have some other manuscripts-in-progress but right now is the most free time I will have for a while. And the fans…I mentioned them, didn’t I? This is for them. And also to relieve me of the author guilt of not finishing Mina’s story! I’ve wanted to finish it since the original publisher closed the imprint it had been published under.

Once the book is completed, I plan on releasing it as an Ebook and potentially also as a physical book. But no matter what, it’s going to be a fun ride!

Kimberly Pauley

Kimberly Pauley is the author of the award-winning Sucks to Be Me series (YALSA Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers and VOYA Best Sci-Fi Fantasy) and the multicultural fantasy Cat Girl’s Day Off. You can find out more about her and her books at www.kimberlypauley.com 

Follow the white rabbit:


On my latest: Cat Girl’s Day Off
“Populated with wonderfully eccentric and endearing characters, this lighthearted comedy will be an instant hit…” — School Library Journal